overhead shot of two babies laying in flowers strung into shape of a heart

The Long View

If you’ve had a child, you’ve probably thought about what the planet will look like in the future. Really, even if you haven’t had a child, you’ve probably thought about that at least 1 to a million times.

When this miraculous event occurred (having the child, not thinking about the future), did you begin to take steps to mitigate your and your family’s impact on the planet? Oftentimes, with babies comes more waste. It’s not always the case, but it is more often than not in our Western culture.

A single baby in the United States can send up to 3800 diapers to the landfill in her/his lifetime (according to Mother Jones), most of which will never break down and will be with us for many generations into the future.

I’ve been trying to instill subtle sustainability practices into our family. I see the importance of eating food without pesticides and look at the investment into our grocery bill as medicine that will support us in being healthy now and in the future. Organic food is not accessible or affordable to all, and I feel incredibly grateful each time we are able to put this food into our bodies.

My older daughter is aware of chemicals and pesticides in food. She loves strawberries, but always asks, “Mom, does this strawberry have chemicals?” before eating one when we’re not at home. There are many fruits and vegetables that our kids can eat that are conventionally grown (although I’d rather all fruit and veggies be organic). However, I draw the line at strawberries and tomatoes, or any other fruit/veggie that’s grown by lying on the ground, sitting in wet pesticide-filled dirt in their thin skins!

Recently, we put a pot in our shower to catch the cold water before it heated up and we’re ready to jump in. This was an old practice of mine, before we had babies that wanted to take mid-afternoon spontaneous baths with clothes on anytime they’d like. I completely understand that saving this small bit of water when we shower will not have any impact on the water crisis in our world, but it does feel good to know that just by modeling this conservation effort, I might be handing down a small bit of conservation values to our girls.

Bringing a new human into the world has severe sustainability ramifications.

My hope is to nurture conscious, aware beings who will care for the planet and consume less than average.  

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About The Author

Nikki Pava's picture

Nikki Pava is the author of Green Wisdom: A Guide for Anyone to Start, Engage and Energize a Sustainability Team. She is also the founder of Alegria Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in sustainability engagement initiatives for mission-driven companies.

Prior to her work at Alegria Partners, Nikki founded EcoTuesday, a national networking forum that facilitated vital connections and essential change in the business community. EcoTuesday hosted more than 300 events in 12 cities across the country and brought together hundreds of sustainability professionals, making a positive impact in each city.

Nikki holds an MBA in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. She lives in an eco-community in Costa Rica and is currently writing a book about teams in businesses that focus on reaching their company’s climate change goals.

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